Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Right to Own Arms -- in 1474!

Those who claim that citizens do not have the right to own and bear arms really do not have a concept of history. Historically, individuals did own arms to protect themselves. The example below is from 1474 in a small town of 2,300 households in France:

"Moreover, while in a modern state the armory in the hands of individuals is practically insignificant when compared to the weaponry controlled by the public powers, in preindustrial Europe the situation was totally different.

"Troyes is a medium-sized city in France which in October 1474 counted some 2,300 households. An official inspection of all homes showed that at the time the citizens owned 208 jacks, 51 complete suits of armor, 109 breastplates and overshirts, 199 shirts of mail and coats of mail, 73 surcoats, 49 brigandines and underskirts, 785 sallets and armets, 151 barbutes and basinets, 271 crossbows, 547 muskets, with both automatic recoil and manual, 4 cannons, one serpentine, 389 lances, 855 hachets and hammers, 1047 spears, 201 javelins, double hooked lances, and pikes, 37 bows, 657 two-headed hammers of lead, copper, and iron.

"Moreover, in the shops of the town merchants there were for sale: 69 jacks, 6 complete suits of armor, one decorated breastplate, 5 overshirts, 14 brigandines, 6 shirts of mail, 79 lances, 110 sallets, 16 steel crossbows, 8 hammers, 56 swords, 17 pair of gauntlets. …

"Still, even for calmer periods and quieter areas, if one combines the armory in the hands of the private citizens and the weaponry owned by the public powers, one always finds that the particular form of capital represented quite a sizable amount of wealth.

Taken from: Carlo M. Cipolla, Before the Industrial Revolution: European Society and Economy, 1000-1700, (W.W. Norton & Co., New York), 1976, p. 103-104.

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